By Stephen Ubanna
Ahead of the 2019 , general elections, Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state,south-south Nigeria and embattled National Chairman , of the All progressives Congress, APC, appears to have stepped on powerful toes which may have landed him into President Muhammadu Buhari’s troubles.
Oshiomhole’s problem was said to have started with the conduct of the last September governorship primaries in the states where there was deep animosity over allegations of fraud against him. The deep animosity was said to have been more pronounced in Ogun, Imo and Zamfara, states governed bySenator Ibikunle Amosu, Rochas Okrocha and Abdullaziz Yari, respectively and who incidentally were Buhari close political allies.
The trio may not have hidden their anger against Oshiomhole for failing to endorse their nominations for the governorship primaries in their respective states as the authentic Candidates which ought to have been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, to contest , the 2019 general elections.There were insinuations in party circles in the states that the trio were against Oshiomhole, because of their perception of his game plan to frustrate and render them powerless .
Insiders told the Magazine that the trio who may not want to defect to the rival People’s Democratic party, PDP, or any other party to ensure that their nominated govenorship Candidates realise their political ambitions to avod playing into playing into the hands Buhari who may want to use Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or Yusufi Bichi, Director General, Department of State Security Service,, DSS, to witch-hunt them.
The Magazine learnt that the trio may have won the President’s heart against Oshiomhole with the way they presented the matter to him portraying the party Natinal Chairman as a fraud and the need to remove him before he finally destroys the party to satisfy his pay masters.
The aggrieved governors were aid to have made it clear to Buhari and all those that care to listen that unless Oshiomhole reviews the governorship t list submitted to the INEC, for consideration for the February 28, 2019, governorship, elections, the party stands the risk of losing their respective states to the rival PDP.
Senator Amosu, governor of Ogun state , who have never his support for Abdul Adekunle Akinlade, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy to take over from him against Dapo Abiodun, an oil magnate who was selected by the party, appears to have heat up the polity in the state. This is because he has succeeded in polarising the party between the two frontline governorship Candidates in the state.
Incidentally, he shares the same complaints with Okorocha , his counterpart in Imo state, who has repeatedly accused the APC, National Chairman of ”destroying the party in the state for failing to submit Uche Nwosu, his son-In-Law and allegeed crony as the governorship Candidate of the party in the state to INEC instead of Senator Hope Uzodinma. His argument was that Nwosu won the party primaries and the only Candidate, if elected governor of Imo state on the platform of APC. would ”protect the high integrity of Buhari and the integrity of the party”.
The situation in Zamfara appears more dworrisome as the state, at present has no governorship Candidate since the rejection of Mukthar Shehu Idris, the state Commissioner of Finance and Yari’s nomination for the exalted position by Oshiomhole led APC leadership , on the allegation that there was no proper Conduct of the governorship primaries in the state.
Party sources told the Magazine that there was nothing Amosu, Okorocha or Yari, had not done to arm-twist Oshiomhole including using blackmail to force him to bow to their pressure of submitting their anointed Candidates to INEC for the 2019, governorship elections in their respective states but no luck.
The aggrieved governors pressure on the APC Chairman, may have forced him to rush to the President’s office to loge his complaints and also plead with him to call the governors and their nominated Candidates to order. He may have shown that all is not well with the APC when he declared after emerging from the meeting with Buhari that he will not ” mortgage his conscience in order to keep his APC National Chairmanship job”, an indication that Buhari may have asked him to listen to the aggrieved governors and give them what they want or be ready to quit the APC Chairmanship Job.
An angrieved Oshiomhole had noted that if out of the 23 APC governors in the states , only three of them were not pleased with the outcome of the last governorship primaries ,” no one could begrudge them for not being happy if a particular outcome did not coincide with their expectations”. Oshiomhole may have thought that Buhari, who he claims, knows about everything he is doing , would back him over his actions to play according to the rule . He got it wrong.
Unknown to him, the president was not in support of what he had done to the governors’ Candidates in the three states. This is because, the governors were his some of his strongest allies who could be used to realise his re-election bid in 2019. The President who may have felt bad did show his anger to Oshiomhole to avoid distabilising him.
Worried by Oshiomhole’s hard-line position and to clear the air that the President was not in support of his actions, Okorocha, was said to have had an audience with him at the Presidential villa last Thursday. He could not hide the anger in him when he came out from the President’s office as the President may have made him to understand that he never gave any directive to the former Edo state governor to do anything” illegal or create any form of injustice in the party”. Armed with the information, Okorocha may have prepared himself to fight Oshiomhole to the last to get justice in the party.
He fears that over five million voters in the state may have lost to the rival Opposition party, PDP, because of anger and protest everywhere in the state, stressing that the President needed to call Oshiomhole to order before he finally destroys the party.
The embattled APC National Chairman’s’s troubles may have actually started when Amosu said to the hearing of Buhari that Oshiomhole’s ”mission in APC was to kill the party”, going by his Statement describing him as a” liar over his account of the controversies trailing the party’s gubernatorial primaries in the state”.He may have bought the idea and was waiting for an opportunity to rope Oshiomhole in as a way whittling down the powers of Aswaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader of the party and who have never hidden his support for him. .
Hajiya Aisha Buhari may have made his case worse when she warned the APC National Chairman not to step to the Presidential quarters to see the President on any official matter but take it to his Presidential office for not doing her biddings to bend the rule in the party primaries in Taraba state to favour his brother.
Political analysts knew that the moment Ahajiya Buhari also turned her back on Oshiomhole, the party was over for him in the Presidency., which exposed him to various attacks and earned him disrespect from government security agencies. the Magazine learnt that Bichi, the Director General, DSS, had informed Buhari about plans to detain and grill the APC National Chairman over allegations of fraud leveled against him by the aggrieved governors of Ogun, Imo and Zamfara states.
He was said to have given the nod to the DSS officials o go ahead and do their job, when he was told about the allegations against the party Chairman. The President who did not want to be seen as sheilding Oshiomhole gave the secret police the green light to grill him. He was said to have been detained and grilled for several hours . He was however granted Administrative bail with the approval of the President to give him a relief.
. The APC National Chairman may have read the handwriting on the wall that he had lost out in the power equation in the party that he was forced to escape to the United States to save his life. But Bichi, the DSS boss , has made it clear to those that care to listen that Oshiomhole’s trouble is not over as he is expected to return to the agency for further interrogation any time he returns o the country.
The worry of party members was that he had left the party to the United States on the excuse of going to to have rest when he was needed most in the country now to oversee theparty plan for next year’s general elections, fueling speculations that he may have seen that the party have no chances of beating the rival PDP in the election. The feud between the APC, Natinal chairman and the three aggrieved governors who had petitioned to the DSS, may have sent a signal to Buhari that there is danger ahead. This is because the crisis between the party Chairman and the governors is coming three months to the 2019 Presidential elections.
A party source told the Magazine that the President had made several efforts in the last two weeks to settle the rifts between the two camps but no headway, an indication that it would be an uphill task for the party to win the crisis ridden states or for Buhari to win the 2019 Presidential elections.
The internaal crisis in APC, may have forced Abba Gana, a former minister of the Federal Capital territory, FCT, to say that Tinubu, would work for Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and PDP Presidential Candidate because of their long standing relationship.
Many believe that the former FCT minister may have made the statement to further deepen the crisis of confidence within APC. This may have forced he APC National leader to quickly come out to condemn the Statement in its entirety and to re-state his commitment for the re-election bid of Buhari in next year’s general elections. He knew the implication of keeping quiet to the former minister’s weighty statement as Buhari may use the EFCC or the DSS to go after him for hobnobbing with the PDP.
Gana, who is optimistic that APC will lose the 2019 general elections to the PDP, said’,’ They came with the promise of improving security , economy and fighting Corruption in the country, but not much had been done ”.
According to him, ” the security problem in the country now was worse than ever. ”We have all kinds of security issues in Taraba, home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a Lt General rtd, and former Chief of Army Staff , Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Borno and several other parts of the country. He had simply declared: ”APC has failed’ but Buhari would not agree that the APC has failed, insisting that his Administration has uplifted the economy and improved the security situation of the country, which many believed had translated to” hunger”.